Offaly won a crucial Allianz Football League Division 2 relegation four-pointer with a great comeback victory over a shell-shocked Down in Newry on Saturday evening.

Down are not relegated yet, Offaly are far from safe but this was arguably their most important win in John Maughan's reign.

It gives them a fighting chance of staying up and with members of the 2021 All-Ireland Under-20 winning side developing nicely, this would be a massive boost to Offaly.

One of those players was the hero here with corner-back and man of the match Lee Pearson racing in from the left to fist the winning point over the bar two minutes into injury-time.

Down had one last chance to equalise but Barry O'Hagan's free flew wide and Offaly's celebrations spoke volumes about what this win meant for them.

It was an against the odds win for them and they looked dead and buried when they trailed by 0-14 to 0-11 inside the last five minutes. Barry O'Hagan had punched against the bar for Down in the 65th minute but Niall Kane's '45' put Down three clear.

Bernard Allen had booted over the bar with a goal chance moments later but that point along with the introduction of subs, Anton Sullivan and another U-20 player, Cathal Flynn lit a fire in Offaly.

Points from Niall Darby and a Paddy Dunican free brought Offaly onto level terms and in the blink of an eye, a stunned Down had went from coasting towards victory towards living on their wits. It was a dramatic finale to an entertaining and very keenly contested game.

The sides had been level at half time, 0-8 each but Down were better for much of the second half, controlling the ball and making fewer mistakes. The sides were level on three occasions in the third quarter before Down got three clear with that Kane "45" preceded by two points from Liam Kerr.

Barry O'Hagan was the standout figure in the first half, showing his class in a stuttering Down attack as he fired over four points.

Before, he found the range, Down had been struggling. They had started better but wasted good early possession and Offaly broke to grab the lead through Dylan Hyland and Jordan Hayes.

Points from Andrew Gilmore (free) and Caolan Mooney levelled it up by the 8th minute. It was 0-3 each on 14 minutes before Offaly went 0-5 to 0-3 ahead thanks to Bernard Allen and Niall McNamee.

O'Hagan suddenly found his feet and Offaly were rattled. O'Hagan showed tremendous opportunism to fire over four points and with Conor Poland also scoring, they went 0-8 to 0-6 ahead.

Offay were in trouble but they steadied the ship before the interval. Niall McNamee tapped over a free and Keith O'Neill, an U-20 hero last year, got a great point from the left wing to level it at 0-8 each at half time.

Spilling rain before half time turned the second half into a bit of a lottery but it was still wide open for the second half.

Offaly: Paddy Dunican (0-1, f)s; Lee Pearson (0-1), James Lalor, Niall Darby (0-1); Rory Egan, Ciaran Donnelly; Bill Carroll, Jordan Hayes (0-1); Mark Abbott (0-1), Ruari McNamee (0-1), Dylan Hyland (0-1); Bernard Allen (0-3), Niall McNamee (0-3, 1f), Keith O'Neill (0-1).

Subs: Cathal Mangan for Carroll (HT), Anton Sullivan (0-1) for O'Neill (51m), Cathal Flynn for Niall McNamee (63m), Cathal Donoghue for Hyland (65m), Jack McEvoy for Ruari McNamee (73m),

Down: Niall Kane (0-1, '45'); Peter Fegan, Finn McElroy, Adam Lynch; Darren O'Hagan, Conor Poland (0-1), Daniel Guinness (0-1); Anthony Doherty, Niall McPartland; Caolan Mooney (0-2), Liam Kerr (0-2), Ryan McEvoy; Andrew Gilmore (0-2, 2f), Pat Havern (0-1), Barry O'Hagan (0-4).

Subs: Ceilum Doherty for Lynch (HT), Gerard Collins for Guinness (53m), Cory Quinn for Gilmore (63m), Odhran Murdock for McEvoy (63m), Kevin McKiernan for Havern (69m).

Referee: Barry Judge (Sligo).